Meet Jon Schweikhard, Ursuline’s Playwriting Music Teacher

photo courtesy of ursuline academy

Jon Schweikhard, aside from having an extremely difficult-to-spell last name, works in Ursuline’s performing arts department and has worked at Ursuline for six years. Before Ursuline, however, he attended SMU and graduated in 1991, studying composition and accompanying.

     He has worked on several projects: he wrote the music for a modern version the Faust story called The Bargain and his thesis project was an opera scene called Traffic Jamn!

     “Several plays that I’ve written incidental music for included songs, some of them with a lot of songs: The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Arsonists. I’ve set Albee’s The Sandbox to music. One really fun project was a deconstructed version of Oklahoma! It gave me a chance to turn that familiar music on its ear” Schweikhard said.

     When asked about his favorite piece to play, he replied that he does not have a favorite but has noticed that he finds it interesting to perform music styles that do not personally excite him to listen to.

     At Ursuline, he is responsible for accompanying all three of the school choirs: Freshman Choir, Concert Choir and The Satin Dolls. The choirs perform at the Christmas and spring concerts, open house and Mass, among others.

     “Mr. Schweikhard is the greatest. He’s super nice and caring and always helps us out,” said Tori Zaugg ‘20, a member of the concert choir.

     Schweikhard also assists with the spring musical which is performed in March. This year’s musical is 9 to 5 and is being performed March 5 through March 8. Schweikhard also accompanies Ursuline’s musical theatre classes, helping students perform solos and group numbers from Broadway shows.

     “[I am most delighted] watching the students at the auditions. The support they provide each other and the amount of courage they exhibit is exhilarating,” he said in response to a question about his favorite memories from Ursuline.

     Schweikhard has also started to teach the AP Music Theory course. Mi-Lan Hoang ’21 currently takes the class.

     “I can honestly say that it is one of the most rewarding classes I’ve ever taken at Ursuline. I’ve studied music theory before but have never truly enjoyed it until I starting taking Mr. Schweikhard’s class. Developing that understanding of the structure of music has helped me immensely in my other music studies – I’m able to apply the knowledge I learn in class to my compositions and performances, and I feel really proud when I can make those connection. Mr. Schweikhard is always challenging me to be the best musician and best student I can be, and I’ve never felt more connected to my music than I do now. Mr. Schweikhard has a true love for both music and teaching, and it is an absolute joy learning with him.”

     When jokingly asked about how often people misspell his last name, Schweikhard said, “What amuses me is when I get mail with the last name very carefully spelled but they didn’t get “Jon” right.”

      A talented musician and teacher, all of Ursuline is thankful for Jon Schweikhard. Zoe Rodriguez ’21 said it best by saying that “[Schweikhard is] an amazing teacher and has definitely played a key role in my Ursuline experience.”

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